Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Time: 1:15 pm – 3:00 pm EST (Confirm your local time here)
Please register at: http://bit.ly/3D3Dek7
The side event will be in English. French and Spanish interpretation will be provided.
Organized by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF). Co-organized by Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), Gray Panthers, African Platform for Social Protection (APSP), Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
The Virtual Side Event: On the Road to 2025: A New Social Contract with Universal Social Protection and Full Employment and Decent Work for all will take place during the 61st Session of the Commission for Social Development CSocD61.
Social protection is a human right and an investment with high social and economic returns – yet more than half the world’s population do not have access to comprehensive social protection. Coverage remains particularly low for marginalized children, people with disabilities, older people, widows, women, people working in the informal economy, migrants, and the LGBTQI community.
COVID-19 has highlighted inequalities and served as a stress test for access to social protection, basic human rights, income, health security, and such essential goods as housing and food. People living in poverty have been particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many countries have realized both the necessity and the long-term benefits of universal, comprehensive, and adequate social protection for all, based on sustainable and equitable financing, robust, adapted, and tripartite administration anchored in law. The necessity for guaranteeing, financing and delivering social protection to all, including the hardest to reach may require, notably in low-income countries, the technical and financial support of a Global Fund for Social Protection.
To respond to the recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have put in place some social protection responses to support workers, children, and families1. However, these are, for the most part, ad hoc measures of short duration, and need to be transformed into sustainable social protection.
Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all is integral to an ethical and moral vision. However, the informality of work appears to be growing worldwide and becoming the new normal, with over sixty percent of the global workforce supporting themselves in this way- hoping to meet their basic daily needs without health coverage, social insurance, or access to maternity or sick leave. In Africa, this figure can be as high as eighty percent. Further, these informal workers do not have voice and representation for their interests and are often prohibited from unionizing.
While this has been the norm in emerging economies, today the trend is on the rise in more developed and globalized economies, in the form of deregulation, outsourcing, and flex and temp work. All of this erodes the dignity of the person and violates human rights and opportunities for decent work conditions. The globalized nature of finance, investment and business ventures is facilitating this erosion with exploitative practices against people and the planet itself2.
It is more important than ever to make connections between social protection and the ongoing crisis, strengthen and scale up social protection systems and for that a renewed social contract is needed to ensure an inclusive and sustainable recovery for all.
The Global Coalition of Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) invites you to a 105-minute side event with speakers from Governments, United Nations, and civil society.
We will tackle the diverse and interconnecting perspectives on social protection and the urgency of a “renewed” social contract anchored in human rights for a new era and consider why the Global Fund for Social Protection is necessary to deliver to all the right to social protection.
Insights and conclusions will be inputted into the ongoing work of the Commission for Social Development and the discussions about the Global Fund for Social Protection.
Read here the position paper of the GCSPF at the the 61st Session of the Commission on Social Development: ‘Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’
Details of the virtual side event
Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Time: 1:15 pm – 3:00 pm EST (Confirm your local time here)
Please register at: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEqf-qtrT8iGtekNIJL1OnNxMmYOcuopcwA
The side event will be in English. French and Spanish interpretation will be provided.
Moderator: Dr. Paul Ladd, Executive Director UNRISD
Session 1: Welcome and overview of the topic
• Ms. Hanna Sarkkinen, Minister of Social Affairs and Health of Finland - The road to the Social Summit 2025, the urgency of a “renewed” social contract to ensure full implementation of the right to social protection.
• Dr. Veronika Wodsak, ILO/USP2030 - Priority Theme - decent work, SPF; evidence of SP impact
• Priscilla Gavi, Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) – Charting progress on the right of all Citizens of Africa to Social Protection.
Session 2: Action for Change: collaboration between civil society and the United Nations
• Laura Alfers, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) - Ensuring the informal sector have the right to social protection.
• Dr. Abiola Tilley-Gyado, Board Chair, Society for Family and Social Protection in Nigeria, board member of Nigeria Network of NGOs/GCAP Nigeria; Experience and call for action of those who are Left Behind
• Nicola Wiebe, Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors; Financing gaps and role of the Global Fund
Conclusions and Recommendations
• Dr. Paul Ladd, Executive Director UNRISD
2 Statement submitted by Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd to the Commission for Social Development Sixty-First Session 6-15 February 2023.
The video of the virtual side event “Decade of Action to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030” is now online. The side event on the Theme Austerity & Social Protection was co-hosted by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and the Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) and it was held during the Global People's Assembly on 22 September, 2021.
The Declaration of the Global People's Assembly 2021 “The COVID-19 Wake Up Call: We The People Resist Being Left Behind” is available here.
The chapter on Social Protection is below.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the decrepit state of existing social protection systems. Decades of broken promises, policies that prioritise profits over people and planet, and austerity programmes have gutted social protection, emergency safety nets and essential public services.
While emergency programmes provide relief in times of crisis, they are stopgap measures. The international community and national governments must create a comprehensive, social protection system if the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved and bring the ideas of “Leave No One Behind” and “A Life of Dignity for All” to life.
Social protection systems are a proven, direct and fast-acting mechanism to end poverty and reduce inequalities. They unleash individual creativity and capacities, provide resilience in the face of ‘natural’ calamities, pandemics and economic crises, and are an investment in the long-term economic and social growth of countries and communities. Social protection is a universal public good and a human right!
Create and ensure a Universal Social Protection Floor for all, which ensures:
To realise a Universal Social Protection Floor, the international community must:
While international funding and technical support is important, it does not replace the responsibility of national and local governments to establish and finance rights-based, national social protection floors.
The Gender Dimension: The pandemic has made it clearer than ever that developing and resourcing gender-responsive social protection systems is central to combating poverty among women and girls. Social protection systems must cover informal sector workers, including those in unpaid care work. Social protection health schemes must include and cover services specific to the needs of women and girls, in all their diversity, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH), maternal and infant health services, sexual and gender- based violence services and safe abortion care.
Age: Social protection is essential to reduce vulnerabilities in old age. In many countries, older women are more likely to be impoverished than men, a result of lower wages, unpaid care work and longer life expectancy . . . Youth must be provided opportunities to be partners, as well as beneficiaries, in the development of policies and processes that affect their lives.
Marginalisation: Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent face intergenerational discrimination, exclusion from public resources and entitlements, and are routinely segregated despite constitutional and legal protective measures. Individuals from these communities are disproportionately affected by hunger, food insecurity and poverty. Cultural practices, child slavery and trafficking deny millions their right to quality education. Marginalised communities, including persons with disabilities, must be represented in local governments to ensure that their voices are heard and right to social protection realised.
Global People's Assembly, 21 - 23 September 2021
Co-hosted by the following partners:
Action for Sustainable Development (A4SD), Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSD), Asia Civil Society Partnership on Sustainable Development (APSD), Asia Dalits Rights Forum, Asia Development Alliance (ADA), Bread for the World, Germany, Bridging Ventures, CBM, CIVICUS, Coalition for the UN We Need (C4UNWN), CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), Democracy Without Borders, EURODAD, No Profit on Pandemic, FORUS, Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF), GESTOS, Global Forum of Communities of DWD (GFoD), Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), Global Policy Forum, Gray Panthers, Latindadd, My World Mexico, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), SDG Watch Europe, Women Engaged for a Common Future (WECF), Women’s Major Group , TAP Network, Trust Africa.
The virtual side event “Decade of Action to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030” took place on 12 July 2021 during the High-level Political Forum 2021.
The virtual side event was co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations; Ministry of National Development Planning, Indonesia; Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection - USP2030; Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors; Global Call to Action Against Poverty; International Labour Organization; The World Bank; International Network for Social Protection Rights (INSP!R West-Africa); United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD); Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung; Protestant Agency for Diakonie und Development; Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd; Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC).
Moderator: Dr. Katja Hujo, Senior Research Coordinator, Transformative Social Policy Programme, UNRISD
Session 1: The Contribution of Universal Social Protection to Agenda 2030
Session 2: Partnership for Joint Action
The virtual side event “Decade of Action to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030” will take place in the framework of the High-level Political Forum.
Date: Monday 12th July 2021, Time: 7:30 – 9am New York, EDT
Please register here: https://socialprotectionorg.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_K0jIjxvgTC2pDQqYRiMhgQ
The event will be in English. Live Spanish and French translation will be offered.
The virtual side event is co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations; Ministry of National Development Planning, Indonesia; Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection - USP2030; Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors; Global Call to Action Against Poverty; International Labour Organization; The World Bank; International Network for Social Protection Rights (INSP!R West-Africa); United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD); Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung; Protestant Agency for Diakonie und Development; Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd; Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC).
Moderator: Dr. Katja Hujo, Senior Research Coordinator, Transformative Social Policy Programme, UNRISD
Session 1: The Contribution of Universal Social Protection to Agenda 2030
Q&A / Discussion
Session 2: Partnership for Joint Action
Q&A / Discussion
Wrap up and Conclusion: Towards universal social protection by 2030
Social protection is essential to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Social protection is not only a universal human right, investing in social protection also brings high social and economic returns. However, half the world’s population currently does not have access to any social protection, with coverage remaining particularly limited in most low-income countries. Those who tend to lack access to essential services and basic income guarantees, according to ILO Recommendation 202 on Social Protection Floors, include workers in the informal economy, marginalized children, people with disabilities, older women and men, refugees and migrants, and homeless persons.
We are entering the decade of action to achieve Agenda 2030 under extremely difficult circumstances. Global commitment to SDG 1 “to achieve substantial (social protection) coverage of the poor and the vulnerable by 2030” (Target 1.3) has become the highest priority to end poverty in all its forms, everywhere. Without concomitant commitment to joint action SDG 1 target 1.3 will fail.
The HLPF 2021 reviews global and national progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also considers the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has already exposed the depth and breadth of social and economic inequalities and is set to push up to 150 million people into extreme poverty1, and 150 million children into multidimensional poverty2. Governments have responded to Covid-19 by introducing or scaling up social protection measures to ameliorate the impact of job losses, impoverishment and the increase of inequalities in their countries. Countries with established social protection systems have shown themselves to be in a much better position to cope with the social and economic fallout of Covid-19, to respond faster, more effectively and more efficiently than countries who have had to introduce new schemes on an ad hoc emergency basis.
Covid-19 has focussed minds on the importance of social protection guarantees to health and income, enabling access to education, food and housing. The positive impact of social protection on long-term poverty and inequality has been demonstrated. Many countries are realizing the need for and the long-term benefits of universal, comprehensive and adequate social protection, based on sustainable and equitable financing, tripartite administration and anchored in law.
We invite you to a 90-minute side event at the HLPF 2021 with speakers from governments, the United Nations, the World Bank and civil society. We will discuss why universal social protection is critical to the success of the 2030 Agenda, how social protection can prevent long-term poverty traps as a result of the ongoing crisis, how it will underpin resilient recovery and contribute to future crisis preparedness and how it will reduce inequalities. The event will explore the role of national social dialogue and the global partnership for universal social protection and propose a global mechanism to support countries to create comprehensive systems, to collect necessary data and to mobilize finance to ensure universal coverage of the social protection floor.
Conclusions and recommendations will feed into the ongoing work of the High-level Political Forum 2021 and the work of the sponsoring partners.
The theme of the High-level Political Forum 2021 is "Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development".
Each HLPF considers the integrated, indivisible and interlinked nature of the Sustainable Development Goals. Those under specific review in 2021 are Goal 1; no poverty, Goal 2; zero hunger, Goal 3; good health and well-being, Goal 8; decent work and economic growth, Goal 10; reduced inequalities, Goal 12; responsible consumption and production, Goal 13: climate action, Goal 16; peace, justice and strong institutions, Goal 17; partnerships and data.
The meeting of the HLPF in 2021 will be held from Tuesday, 6 July, to Thursday, 15 July 2021, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. This includes the three-day ministerial meeting of the forum from Tuesday, 13 July, to Thursday, 15 July 2021.
Statement to the International Labor Conference
Recurrent Item Discussion on Social Security
4 June, 2021
Download pdf version here.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to this discussion. My name is Johanna Wagman, I am speaking on behalf of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors, a global network of civil society organizations, trade unions and think tanks committed to the realization of ILO 202 Recommendation on social protection floors.
We recognize the foremost responsibility of governments in establishing and scaling-up national social protections floors, as they committed to do so in 2012 in this exact same conference.
However, we also recognize that this cannot be achieved without the international community’s support. Firstly, through the promotion of fairer and more redistributive macro-economic policies, enabling low and middle income States to make fiscal space for social protection.
Secondly, through international solidarity.
Yet, international funding for social protection is still extremely low (1,4% of total ODA in 2019), despite the universal right to social protection and the vast scientific evidence on the effectiveness of investing in social protection to prevent and reduce poverty and inequality.
This is why the creation of a solidarity based Global Fund for Social Protection is needed; to pool funds while supporting countries design and implement national social protection floors. A Global Fund for Social Protection is the adequate multilateral initiative needed to respond to the consequences of Covid-19 and to build a better future.
As an institution of global governance, the Fund would help pull together efforts and decrease the fragmentation of aid, leading to a consolidation of existing financing mechanisms and enabling domestic financing over the long term.
Based on its strong normative framework and technical knowledge, the ILO should take a lead role in the establishment and the governance of such a fund, providing effective participation of social partners and other relevant and representative civil society organizations. We call on this conference to give the International Labor Office a mandate to start participate talks with other international organizations.
Thank you very much.
Contribution by Johanna Wagman, Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors.
The video of the virtual event “International Solidarity to Support a Robust and Inclusive Recovery - A Global Social Protection Fund” is now online.
The virtual event, co-organized by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), was held in the framework of the Spring Civil Society Policy Forum of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The event took place on Thursday 25 March 2021.
Cathy Feingold, International Director of the AFL-CIO and Deputy President of the International Trade Union Confederation
Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights
Omar Faruk Osman, Secretary General of the Federation of Somali Trade Unions
Yolande Wright, Head of Child Poverty at Save the Children
Didier Jacobs, Senior Advisor at Oxfam. His presentation is available here.
Michal Rutkowski, Global Director for Social Protection and Jobs at the World Bank
The devastating loss of jobs and livelihoods during COVID-19 has reaffirmed the importance of universal social protection, an agreed objective before the crisis. There is limited capacity for low income countries to respond to the social and economic consequences of COVID-19 because of underdeveloped social protection systems and limited revenue. Greater international solidarity in the financing of social protection could support low-income countries to close the gaps. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights is calling for the establishment of a global social protection fund. This panel discusses the proposal and the potential role for the IMF and World Bank.
********************“Solidaridad internacional en apoyo a una recuperación robusta e inclusiva
El video del evento virtual “Solidaridad internacional en apoyo a una recuperación robusta e inclusiva Un Fondo Mundial para la Protección Social” se encuentra ahora disponible aquí.
El evento, coorganizado por la Coalición Global por los Pisos de Protección Social y la Confederación Sindical Internacional, se realizó en el Foro de Políticas Relativas a la Sociedad Civil, en el marco de las Reuniones de Primavera del Banco Mundial y el Fondo Monetario Internacional. El evento se realizó el Jueves 25 de marzo de 2021.
Cathy Feingold, Directora Internacional de la AFL-CIO y Presidenta Adjunta de la Confederación Sindical Internacional
Olivier de Schutter, Relator Especial de la ONU sobre la extrema pobreza y los derechos humanos
Omar Faruk Osman, Secretario General de la Federation of Somali Trade Unions
Yolande Wright, Directora sobre reducción de la pobreza infantil en Save the Children
Didier Jacobs, Asesor Senior de Oxfam. Su presentación se encuentra disponible aquí.
Michal Rutkowski, Director del Departamento de Prácticas Mundiales de Protección Social y Trabajo del Banco Mundial
La devastadora pérdida de empleos y medios de subsistencia durante la COVID-19 ha reafirmado la importancia de una protección social universal, objetivo ya acordado antes de la crisis. Los países de ingresos bajos cuentan con una capacidad limitada para responder a las consecuencias sociales y económicas de la COVID-19, al disponer de sistemas de protección social poco desarrollados e ingresos limitados. Una mayor solidaridad internacional en la financiación de la protección social podría contribuir a ayudar a estos países a cerrar la brecha. El Relator Especial de la ONU sobre la extrema pobreza y los derechos humanos ha pedido el establecimiento de un fondo mundial para la protección social. Esta mesa redonda discutirá las propuestas y el posible papel del FMI y el Banco Mundial.
Ana Zeballos spoke on behalf of the GCSPF at the Civil Society Meeting “Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond”, Cluster 2: socio-economic response: social protection, gender, youth, health, education, and human rights. The consultation with NGOs and Civil Society Organizations was held under the auspices of the International Labour Organization and coorganized by the NGO Committee on Financing for Development and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP). The event was held on 11 March 2021.
The concept note and programme of the event are here. Ms. Zeballos highlighted the need for the establishment of a Global Fund for Social Protection, and notes of her intervention are below and the PDF version is available here. Members of the Global Coalition also participated at the High-level meeting.
The final report is here.
One year has passed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the world is still struggling to curtail the health crisis alongside a growing socio-economic crisis. The impact on the health, livelihood, and well-being of people around the world has been dramatic. Even prior to COVID-19, many countries were struggling to cope with growing debt burdens and limited fiscal space to finance the SDGs. National budgets are strained, forcing policy makers to take tough decisions on financing public health or providing stimulus to offset the social and economic pressures. Efforts such as the Debt Service Suspension Initiative helped many countries slow the downward spiral but were just small steps and did not solve the problem. Much more far-reaching efforts are needed to meet the magnitude and scale of the crisis.
Recognizing the urgency to develop a coordinated response to enable ambitious financing solutions, the Prime Ministers of Canada and Jamaica along with the UN Secretary General launched an Initiative in May 2020 on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond. Various stakeholders were invited to contribute to six open-ended discussion groups, which ultimately led to a comprehensive menu of policy options. The policies aim to address the current emergency and to promote a swift and sustainable recovery that will pave the way for a more inclusive, resilient development paradigm. Ministers of Finance reviewed the recommendations, which were subsequently welcomed by Heads of State and Government during the UN General Assembly in September 2020.
The overarching objective of this process is to identify concrete, ambitious and actionable recommendations for financing a socioeconomic recovery based on the Menu of Options (or if needed beyond). A work plan has been established for Cluster 2, organized around three main themes: 1) Global Standards and Norms which aims to commit governments to align national frameworks with human labour rights; 2) Alignment of national spending, planning and implementation to promote socio-economic impact investing in areas such as decent work, SMEs, social protection, universal health coverage, gender, youth and education; and 3) Enabling environment and private sector engagement aimed at promoting innovative finance instruments aligned with the SDGs and national priorities and developed through social dialogue.
To ensure the exercise benefits from a broad set of expertise and captures a range of considerations and priorities, a number of stakeholder consultations are planned. The consultations are expected to support FfD policy implementation and identify actions needed at both global and country levels that are aligned with the Cluster 2 ambitions. The outcome of the consultations will be compiled and incorporated into the final set of recommendations that will be presented during a High-Level UN meeting expected to take place during the General Assembly in September 2021.
Financing for development in the era of COVID-19 and beyond
Cluster 2: socio-economic response: social protection, gender, youth, health, education, and human rights
Consultation with Stakeholders
11 March, 2021; 8:00– 10:15 am EST
Universal Social Protection
Contribution by Ana Zeballos, Coordinator, Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF)1
Thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to this discussion. I am really pleased to speak on behalf of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF). We are a global network of civil society organizations, trade unions and think tanks committed to the realisation of ILO-Recommendation 202 on social protection floors.
We are calling for the implementation of the four Essential Elements of the ILO Recommendation 202, and the establishment of a Global Fund for Social Protection2 as a key strategy to make this happen.
Social protection is a universal human right that reduces and prevents poverty during the life cycle, demonstrated to have a direct and positive impact on health, food security, and inequality. It is therefore an important instrument to distribute wealth and to realise gender equality as well as to achieve more inclusive and socially cohesive societies, a key purpose of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The COVID-19 pandemic is showing us the urgency for universal social protection systems to protect people, and in particular the most vulnerable. While countries may have expanded social protection programmes on a short term basis many people are still falling through the net, among them undocumented informal workers, migrants, homeless, refugees.
Even though high income countries have put in place social protection responses these measures are very uneven between countries and in many cases, merely temporary.
An Oxfam study of emergency responses between April and September 2020 in 126 low and middle income countries shows that:
The Corona crisis urges strengthened international solidarity, global cooperation and pooled funding to ensure investment in and development of inexistent or underdeveloped social protection systems in low-income countries, underpinned by strengthened tax capacity and international regulation to reduce tax evasion and avoidance.
There is political momentum for a Global Fund to support countries with financial and other resources - according to the financial capacity of states and disbursed according to social needs. Excellent financial management, transparency and accountability of the Fund, together with effective engagement of social partners, civil society organisations is essential. Decisions regarding design and implementation of social protection programmes to be supported by the Fund have to be taken by the government of the recipient country, based on national dialogues with social partners and civil society with support by the UN and its specialised agencies.
We believe the Fund is necessary to fulfil the right of millions to have social protection in line with International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as international labour standards and to achieve SDG goal 1 target 3.
Social Protection is a human right, as yet unrealised. The gap is still large. The time is right for the Fund, the time is now.
Thank you very much.
2 A Global Financing Mechanism for Social Protection. A proposal for the decade of action on the Sustainable Development Goals 2020-2030, April 2020, https://www.socialprotectionfloorscoalition.org/2020/04/a-global-financing-mechanism-for-social-protection/
The video of the virtual side event “Building Roofs and Raising Floors Through Inclusive Digital Technologies and A Global Fund for Social Protection”, co-organized by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), is now online.
The virtual event was organised by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP). High level speakers from Governments, United Nations, civil society and academia tackled the diverse and interconnecting perspectives on social protection and homelessness, how digital technology can extend social protection ﬂoors to those who are living without roofs and the value and urgency of the Global Fund for Social Protection to deliver to all the right to social protection.
The side event took place at the UN Commission for Social Development 2021 (CSocD59) and was held on Friday 12 February, 2021.
Moderator: Magdalena Sepulveda - Executive Director, Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR)
Keynote speaker: Olivier De Schutter - Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, United Nations
Meryame Kitir - Minister of Development Cooperation and Urban Policy, Government of Belgium
Saila Ruuth - State Secretary to the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Government of Finland
Rob Robinson - Partner for Dignity and Rights, Institute for Global Homelessness
Samuel Obara – Programme Manager, Africa Platform for Social Protection
Roshni K. Nuggehalli – Global Call to Action Against Poverty Co-Convenor, WadaNaTodo Abhiyan(WNTA), GCAP India and Executive Director, Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA)
Sulistri Afrileston – Deputy President in charge of Social Protection, All Indonesian Trade Union Confederation
Nicola Wiebe - Social Protection Policy Specialist, Bread for the World; Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors
Shahra Razavi - Director of Social Protection Department, The International Labour Organisation
Paul Ladd – Director, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development
The speaker bios are here.
Download the main talking points of the speakers here.
In the words of Minister Kitir ‘A global fund for social protection, properly funded and managed, might be the tool we need. Because we are all in this together.’
Covid 19 has put the spotlight on social protection. All speakers reflected on the impact that Covid-19 is having on wellbeing and human rights, and the numbers affected. Minister Kitir reflected ‘Due to COVID, worldwide, we do not progress on social development. It’s the complete opposite, we are facing social regression.’ Covid 19 has negatively affected women to a greater extent, with crosscutting impacts according to age, disability, race, ethnicity and social class. Behind each statistic is a person with untold lives affected. People experiencing homelessness were particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because they had no homes in which to safely shelter.
Covid-19 has placed social protection right back at the centre of the debate of wellbeing and social progress; it will not however be the last crisis that the world faces, and requires international collaboration on a grand scale. Olivier de Schutter pointed out that we have a ‘ unique moment, an opportunity not to be missed’ and that ‘ SDGs call for international solidarity and enhanced development cooperation in the field of social protection’. Social protection measures have been ramped up in many countries, especially in High Income Countries and Middle Income Countries, including in countries with right-wing / conservative governments; but it is easier to roll out enhanced social protection effectively in countries with already comprehensive and universal systems than in countries where new measures need to be put in place. Shara Razavi pointed out that while domestic resource mobilisation must be the basis of national social protection systems, international support for developing countries is critical, especially in the current context of falling commodity prices, disruptions in export revenues and dwindling remittances. While Covid-19 is undoubtedly a tragedy, it presents a political opportunity and economic rationale to make progress with a system that we know works. It also underlines the need to make a shift from ad hoc temporary schemes and porous safety nets to building nationally defined solid social protection systems with predictable means of financing along the lines of ILO-Recommendation 202 of 2012 and, the key principles of the 2011 Bachelet report on social protection floors and of SDG goal 1 target 1.3.
Global Fund for Social Protection
All panellists welcomed the idea of a Global Fund for Social Protection. Olivier de Schutter addressed some of its misconceptions and misunderstandings, not least because previous ‘vertical funds’ have a mixed reputation, especially when they have been top-down and instilled ‘donorship’ rather than ownership and have had non-inclusive governance and imposed conditionality. It is not intended that rich countries provide support in poorer countries as a permanent device, or that taxpayers from rich countries contribute indefinitely to social protection in low-income countries, but that it be a temporary bridge support to incentivize and mobilize mechanisms to invest in social protection systems that are rights based and require predictability in financing. Furthermore the Fund will be a stimulus to invest effectively in social development, legal entitlements (202) and in human capital. It offers the opportunity to be built from the bottom-up, with the participation of local groups and civil society actors, workers’ and employers’ organisations who give voice to those who would otherwise not be heard. They can push for greater accountability by decision-makers and greater transparency of policy processes – the essential basis of inclusive national dialogue to inform the formulation, implementation, financing and monitoring of universal social protection policies.
Current expenditure levels on social protection are insufficient to close the persistent coverage gaps that leave more than half of the global population without any access to social protection, despite large – yet unequal – resource mobilization during COVID-19 crisis. The financing gap for social protection in low income settings is estimated to be half of development assistance provided by OECD countries in 2019. Financing is a constraint, but political will is also a barrier. ODA is likely to go down because of domestic priorities in donor countries. A broader view of financing – including tax evasion and avoidance, and debt relief is needed. Research and evidence from civil society that makes the case for social protection and how it can be effectively delivered in low income situations is still necessary, together with continued advocacy in all fora.
Finland considers housing to be a basic human right, where it is the government’s duty to act, and has had a focus on homelessness since the mid 1980s. It is on track to eradicate it by 2027. Housing First is a model that can be adopted universally and involves community in tracking who and where the homeless are. It is rooted in the commitment to the wider context of social protection and universal social and health services. Temporary shelter, introduced by some countries during the crisis, is not the answer. Without a working model over the longer term these measures may be rolled back as soon the crisis recedes. Universal cash benefits can play an important role in safeguarding individual autonomy by providing means to proper housing for those who would lack sufficient resources otherwise. Experience points to the need for housing to be integrated into social protection systems that are universal, comprehensive, integrated and addressed across sectors and issues holistically. They need to be predictable, adaptive and accompany people throughout their lives, and be there and operative when people don’t need it, as well as when they do. People dip in and out of needing support.
State Secretary Saila Ruuth said ‘In the light of Covid-19, it is very timely to reintroduce proposals, such as the Global Social Protection Fund, in order to meet the global challenges in the field of social protection.’
Digital solutions should be built on trust, be inclusive and have data security, data privacy and high ethics. At the same time the benefits of new technologies have to be balanced with the risks around privacy and misuse of data by public and private bodies. By putting people at the centre, accessibility and quality of services are improved and well-being can be promoted, including through economic efficacy and tools to act against climate change. Experience from Africa is showing huge opportunities for new digital technologies to improve social protection systems; supporting people across the life course to access entitlements more quickly and efficiently, and with the potential to reduce costs, mismanagement and corruption. The digital divide in infrastructure, skills and access still excludes many in vulnerable situations, exacerbated by age, gender, disability, ethnicity, location and social class. A call was made for digital public goods through digital cooperation and innovation at the global level; indispensable for sustainable development and to promote human agency, human rights and the rules-based international system.
Further information at UNDESA: “Inclusive Digital Technologies and a Global Fund for Social Protection”
List of relevant ILO materials related to the topics of the side event and in particular Shahra Razavi’s intervention.
The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors calls on the G20 to launch an initiative to establish a Global Fund for Social Protection. Read here the advocacy letter or donwload a pdf version.
9 February, 2021
In 2021, several important decisions will be taken at the international level as the world community strives to find ways out of the COVID 19 crisis. The focus will be on the vaccination efforts that are now beginning in many countries. An essential complement to that is to overcome the devastating social and economic consequences of the pandemic and build resilience going forward. To that end, and in advance of the G20 Employment Working Group meeting on February 15–17, we call on the G20 to launch an initiative to establish a Global Fund for Social Protection.
We write to you on behalf of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors, a group of over 100 national and international non-governmental organizations promoting the right of all people to social security.1
The crisis has not only created unprecedented demand on national healthcare systems, but it has also decimated jobs and workers’ livelihoods, and it has fuelled greater poverty and inequalities. In order to support those affected, as well as better prevent comparable crisis situations in the future, well-functioning social protection systems are needed. In many parts of the world, however, such systems are not in place. According to the International Labour Organisation, even before the crisis less than one half of the world’s population had access to any form of social protection, and more than two-thirds of the world’s population were unable to count on a comprehensive set of protections set out in international labour standards2. In many cases, it is not the political will that is lacking, but sufficient financial resources, especially in low-income countries. To support those countries lacking fiscal space in setting up appropriate social protection systems, a broad, solidarity-based and well-coordinated initiative by the international community is therefore needed.
This is why Magdalena Sepúlveda, former UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, and Olivier de Schutter, current UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, have called for the establishment of a Global Fund for Social Protection.3 This call is supported by the government of France4, a number of civil society organisations and trade unions.5 The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors strongly backs this initiative and has published a global call for the establishment of a Global Fund.6
A Global Fund for Social Protection would provide technical assistance for governments to offer a set of benefits that would guarantee a minimum income security for all over the lifecycle. It would also provide temporary matching funds to low-income countries.
This year’s G20 is a critical opportunity for the world’s largest economies to come together and coordinate a response to overcome the consequences of the pandemic. We therefore urge you to use your political means within the framework of the G20 to advocate for such a Fund. Such an act of international solidarity would unite the world on the path towards an equitable recovery from this pandemic.
We look forward to an opportunity to talk to you about our call. For your commitment, we thank you very much.
Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors
List of member organisations:
Act Church of Sweden
Action Contre la Faim - France
Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP)
Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC)
Brot für die Welt
Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC)
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
Dullah Omar Institue, University of the Western Cape
Free Trade Union Development Center (FTUDC)
Friends of the Disabled Association (FDA)
Global Social Justice
International Movement ATD Fourth World
Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary Loreto Generalate
International Presentation Association (IPA)
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Labour Education Foundation (LEF)
Olive Community Development Initiatives(OCDI) Nigeria
Olof Palme International Center
Save the Children UK
Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Center (SMRC)
Social Justice in Global Development
World Federalist Movement – Canada
WSM (We Social Movements)
Markus Kaltenborn (Germany)
Michael Cichon (Germany)
3 https://reliefweb.int/report/world/underwriting-poor-global-fund-social-protection-briefing-note-special-rapporteur-right; https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Poverty/Pages/global-fund-social-protection.aspx. A similar proposal has been made by Michael Cichon, former Director of the ILO Social Security Department, see https://www.unrisd.org/road-to-addis-cichon
The virtual side event “Building Roofs and Raising Floors Through Inclusive Digital Technologies and A Global Fund for Social Protection”, co-organized by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) with bring together speakers from the Governments of Finland and Belgium, the United Nations, civil society, academia, and lived experience. Speakers will explore the diverse and interconnecting perspectives on social protection and homelessness, and discuss why the Global Fund for Social Protection is necessary to ensure that all have the right to social protection. Speakers will specifically consider how digital technology can extend social protection floors to those who are living without roofs.
The side event will take place at the UN Commission for Social Development 2021 (CSocD59) and will be held on Friday 12 February, 2021; 8:30 am – 9:45 am EST.
Simultaneous translation from English to Spanish and French will be available.
A secure Zoom link will be provided to all registrants. Please register at: https://depaul.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0IkT0ehST1m3e7bysmOQ_w
The speaker bios are here.
Social protection is a human right, and an investment with high social and economic returns – yet more than half the world’s population do not have access to comprehensive social protection. Coverage remains particularly low for marginalized children, people with disabilities, older people, widows, women, people working in the informal economy, migrants, the LGBTQI community, and people who are experiencing homelessness.
COVID-19 has acted as an X-ray to highlight inequalities and as a stress test for access to social protection, basic human rights, income, health security, and such essential goods as housing and food. People who are homeless have been particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, where “staying home” has been the primary strategy for protection against the virus. Social protection is a means of ensuring those without a roof have one, as countries that have tackled homelessness are proving. Many countries are now realizing both the necessity and the long-term benefits of universal, comprehensive and adequate social protection for all, based on sustainable and equitable financing, robust, adapted and tripartite administration and anchored in law. Inclusive digital technologies can help to build roofs and raise floors for the most vulnerable among us and will ensure the sustainability of interventions.
The necessity for guaranteeing, financing and delivering social protection to all including the most hard to reach may require, notably in low income countries, the technical and financial support of a Global Fund for Social Protection, which is being explored by the UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors. The pandemic is set to push up to 150 million people into extreme poverty1, and 150 million children into multidimensional poverty2, and we can expect that homelessness has also increased worldwide. Homelessness is one of the most visible indicators of failure in any national social protection system, and the cruelest form of social exclusion often of the most marginalized. Yale University estimates “that no less than 150 million people, or about 2 percent of the world’s population, are homeless. However, about 1.6 billion, more than 20 percent of the world’s population, may lack adequate housing.”3 A substantial number of people in the latter group (i.e. more than 20% of the global population) are likely to be permanently vulnerable to homelessness notably in times of crises. The economic impact of COVID- 19 is a driver of housing insecurity and pushing ever more people to the brink of homelessness.
To respond to the socioeconomic fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have put in place some social protection responses to support workers, children and families4. However, these are, for the most part, ad hoc measures of short duration, and need to be transformed into sustainable social protection measures. In relation to housing, time-limited eviction moratoriums are beginning to end around the world, putting more people at risk of homelessness.
We know that still one fifth of the world lacks guarantees to social protection and homelessness is linked to this. We know what works, and which countries have made it one of their priorities to deal with homelessness as part of their social protection systems. It is time to build on these experiences to turn short-term measures into long- term solutions for all. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that countries with established social protection systems are in a much better position to address the social and economic fallout of crises faster, more effectively, and more efficiently than countries who have to introduce new schemes on an ad hoc emergency basis.
Communities that can count on inclusive data and technology systems have also been best positioned to respond to the unique needs of those who are homeless and housing insecure during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is more important than ever to make connections between social protection and the ongoing crisis in homelessness, strengthen and scale up social protection systems with digital systems, as the best way not only to cushion the impacts of the crisis on all those who are the most vulnerable, including families and those who are homeless, but to ensure an inclusive and sustainable recovery for all.
The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty (GCAP) invite you to a 75-minute side event with speakers from Governments, United Nations, civil society and academia. We will tackle the diverse and interconnecting perspectives on social protection and homelessness, and consider why the Global Fund for Social Protection is necessary to deliver to all the right to social protection. We will look at how digital technology can extend social protection floors to those who are living without roofs. Examples include the sponsored use of cellphones that ensure a minimum of connectedness and a critical link to society. Insights and conclusions will be inputted into the ongoing work of the Commission of Social Development and the discussions about the Global Fund for Social Protection.
All are welcome. The following provisional program outline is as of 4 February 2021; an updated flier with all confirmed speakers will be circulated closer to the event.
Moderator - Magdalena Sepulveda, Executive Director of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR)
Section 1: Overview of the Topic from Member States and Special Rapporteur
Section 2: Lived Experience and Social Protections for All
Section 3: Action for change: Collaboration between civil society and the United Nations
Conclusions and recommendations
Primary Contact: Lydia Stazen, DePaul University, email@example.com
A secure Zoom link will be provided to all registrants. Please register at:https://depaul.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0IkT0ehST1m3e7bysmOQ_w
Over 200 civil society organizations and trade unions unite to call for a Global Fund for Social Protection to protect the most vulnerable during COVID-19 and beyond.
The programme Improving Synergies Between Social Protection and Public Finance Management provides medium-term support to multiple countries aiming to strengthen their social protection systems at a national level and ensure sustainable financing. The programme aims to support countries in their efforts towards achieving universal social protection coverage.
This initiative is implemented jointly by the ILO, Unicef, and the GCSPF.